Starting today, Beam.pro will be no more. Beam will now be known as "Mixer," or "Mixer.com," as Microsoft asserts its intentions to take on Amazon's Twitch.tv at a global level.
The intent behind the Mixer brand is to emphasize the community aspects of the service across Xbox Live and Windows 10. Soon you will also be "mix" your stream with up to three friends, according to Microsoft, combining four feeds, and four chat channels into a single stream. But wait, that's not all!
Co-streaming, Xbox One dashboard page
Leveraging Mixer's industry-leading low latency, co-streams utilizing Mixer's faster than light (FTL) stream protocol will display in near-real time to viewers, providing a brand new perspective on cooperative streaming. Naturally, the implications for collaborative play and eSports spectating is huge, and because Mixer is connected directly to Xbox Live and Windows 10, it gives Microsoft a unique opportunity to get a leg up on Twitch.
Additionally, Mixer will soon be directly integrated into the Xbox One dashboard, under a new page to the right of the home screen. Here, Microsoft will display content and coverage from across the service, whether it's popular and trending streamers, or eSports channels featuring Gears of War, Forza, and Halo.
In the future, you should expect Xbox (and maybe even Windows and Surface) to begin using Mixer as the exclusive location of its future live streams.
New apps for iOS and Android (and maybe Windows?)
Mixer will also debut a new app, called "Mixer Create," which is the service's take on mobile screen streaming and live feed streaming. Users will be able to stream their camera directly to Mixer, similar to Twitter's Periscope service, broadcasting live across Xbox, the respective Mixer apps, and the Mixer website. It will also leverage Mixer's FTL codec, making it far faster than competing services.
We asked about the possibility of Mixer Create hitting Windows 10 phones in the future, but as you might expect, it's not in the company's immediate plans. Xbox is going where the users are first, which sadly, isn't Windows 10 Mobile.
E3 2017 and the future
Co-streaming might require FTL, but Beam told us that the upload speed needed to achieve FTL is decreasing all the time. The service is activating new servers on a routine basis, as demand swells from users across Windows 10 and Xbox Live. (Let's not forget that Project Scorpio will also support native 4K streaming.)
We were told that today marks the beginning of a massive marketing push for Mixer. Microsoft is aiming to make Mixer the ultimate place to view E3 2017 coverage, with exclusive reveals and interviews, huge giveaways, and more. Mixer will also have its own booth at E3 in Los Angeles next month for the first time, introducing itself to the world as a standalone entity, rather than a simple Xbox Live feature.
Mixer is going to stream for six hours to celebrate the relaunch of the service starting at 11 am PT (2 pm EST/7 pm BST) and culminating in a special interactive firework display at around 9.30 pm PT (12.30 am EST/ 5:30 am BST).
Huge potential for Mixer
Mixer is, in my opinion, one of Microsoft's most exciting ventures to date. The raw potential is palpable, thanks to the direct integration into Windows 10 and Xbox One, allowing for easy streaming setups, 4K on Scorpio, making expensive capture cards unnecessary, and unique co-streaming features, which will enable new experiences.
Taking on Twitch, and perhaps one day, YouTube, will be an insurmountable task. If Microsoft can actually make it work, it would be an incredibly impressive feat. But Twitch is already responding. Amazon's streaming service debuted its own interactive SDK recently, which is very obviously a direct response to Mixer's interactive SDK, allowing viewers to affect a game directly.
The competition in the streaming space just got incredibly interesting. It remains to be seen whether or not Mixer can make a dent in Twitch's utter dominance of the sector, but considering Mixer's service appears to be objectively superior in various ways, Microsoft is certainly off to a good start.